Saturday, July 11, 2009

Alpaca Prep

Originally uploaded by kbshee
I knew that I wanted to process Brownie's fleece myself...but wasn't quite sure the best way to do it. i've taken a class in drum carding and certainly would be happy to drum card it, but unfortunately drum carders are pricey and they don't come up for sale used very often. I have a set of hand cards so I was thinking I could do rolags. I have to admit, though, using hand cards sort of bores me. There's a lot of back and forth, back and forth, and it can get a bit tedious. In fact, a lot of spinners teach their kids to hand card so they don't have to. But lacking in the kid department, that doesn't make sense for me.

Then I read that alpaca takes to flick carding very well, so I decided to do that. It's fast and easy. Basically, here is a lock of Brownie's fleece (the lighter brown at the top, which I'm holding, is the 'outside' tip and is that color due to amniotic fluid.

Originally uploaded by kbshee
Basically, flick carding involves holding the lock on your knee (you'll see I"m using a decorative holiday placemat to keep the sharp needles of the flick card from penetrating my skin...guess how you learn that?).

You rest the flick carder on the tips, and bounce the flick card up and down to open up the tips a little bit. Then you flip the lock over and do the other side. It takes less than a minute to do a lock.

The flick carder looks like a dog comb...maybe 2" by 6" with a handle and very, very sharp teeth. The little teeth work to open up the tips so you end up with a nice lock of fiber to spin. The lock doesn't look that much different than the first lock, it just is a little more opened up with more loft.
Obviously, this is not the fastest way to prep fiber for spinning, but it is a great way to get to know an animal's fleece and to get some practice in this craft.

1 comment:

Mistrmi said...

I am purposely staying away from spinning, but will follow your progress with true interest.